Mixed Emotions

WHEN A BUILD GOES TO THE RIGHT HOME

Truckin - - TABLE OF CONTENTS - BY PHIL GOR­DON

When this ’98 Toy­ota Tacoma goes to the right home

While Ja­pan is the birth­place of drift­ing, a driv­ing tech­nique in which the driver in­ten­tion­ally over­steers while main­tain­ing con­trol, the mo­tor­sport arrived in the United States in the mid-’90s and gained tremen­dous mo­men­tum. Fu­eled by a dra­grac­ing/hot-rod–in­flu­enced child­hood, from his grand­fa­ther to his fa­ther and un­cles, and even his mother, who has spent time un­der the hood and on the track, Mitch Varisco was over­taken by the wave of Ja­panese car cul­ture.

Over the course of his teenage years and into his twen­ties, Mitch built close to six dif­fer­ent drift ve­hi­cles and learned the lower the ve­hi­cle, the bet­ter it per­formed. At 27 years old, he switched gears, so to speak. Af­ter at­tend­ing a truck show, Mitch de­cided to drop into the mini-truck scene to once and for all sat­isfy the urges to be as low as pos­si­ble. He de­cided he loved the body-dropped look so much that he be­gan look­ing for a truck. He was on the hunt for some­thing to lay frame with when he found his first truck: a full­size Chevy that was quickly traded for a much more suit­able Tacoma, which he soon be­gan to cus­tom­ize.

Mitch balked at the thought of body-drop­ping the Taco. “The truck was just too clean to start cut­ting up,” he tells Truckin. “I needed some­thing that was al­ready bod­ied.” Be­cause he was in­vested in the Toy­ota Tacoma look, Mitch be­gan search­ing for a dif­fer­ent one. While look­ing through so­cial me­dia, he found Thomas Townsend, a cus­tom builder out of Joliet, Illi­nois, who owns and op­er­ates The Paint Asy­lum, a very rep­utable paint shop. Thomas was the owner of a ’98 Tacoma that he had poured his heart and soul into. But he had fam­ily med­i­cal issues and needed money. Mitch came along at the right time, of­fered a gen­er­ous amount, and took possession of the cus­tom truck.

PHO­TOG­RA­PHY: PHIL GOR­DON

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